I’ve never particularly enjoyed cooking and had no delusions that I’d suddenly be Martha Stewart once I became a stay-at-home mom. But I did expect it to become an easy part of our daily routine. As a SAHM, I figure my priorities are to keep the baby alive and make the house not look like goats trampled through it. Adding, “make dinner,” to that nearly-empty to-do list should be easy. I was wrong. My aversion to this domestic art has only intensified as I try to meet my lofty goal of producing one edible family meal a day. Here’s why cooking and I don’t mix.
1. I stink at it. I burn frozen pizzas, my boxed brownie mixes repeatedly end up raw in the middle and crusty around edges, and at thirty-two years old I have yet to properly hard boil an egg. Not even the “How to Make the Perfect ____” tutorials seem to be able to help me.
2. I get no joy from it. None. Chopping vegetables makes my wrist sore, I hate wondering if meat is the right temperature (because of #1, I also seem to be incapable of properly using a meat thermometer), and I’d rather be at the dentist’s office than just standing there waiting for something to boil. (Yes, I have to just stand there. I’ve tried multi-tasking and it always ends badly.) Add to that the gray hairs I get while keeping the kiddo out from underfoot while carrying something hot, sharp, or opening the oven. Even when a rare meal turns out, I’m just glad to be done and wonder where my whole evening went because…
3. Cooking seems to take for.ev.er. First, double the estimated prep time listed on a recipe because they’re a lie. And I rarely cook kiddo-free anyway, so that adds time. When the boy senses I’m actually trying to get something done, he immediately goes from being my self-entertaining cherub to a leg-clinging whiner. Constantly pulling him off my leg or shooing him away from danger (or the garbage can, because he likes to get into that too) adds significantly to the prep time. We’re usually eating by 8. And all that time just to make the mess. It doesn’t even include clean-up tasks like…
4. The dishes. One skillet, a large saucepan, serving bowl- whoa, I already can’t fit just those on one rack of the dishwasher. And that’s if I can even use the dishwasher. Did I empty it after the last time I used it? (That’s tougher than it sounds since my 11 month old is like Pavlov’s dogs to the sound of me unlatching and lowering the dishwasher door so he can try to climb on it or grab something sharp from it.) Is the item dishwasher safe? Ridiculously, not everything is. Oh, and I just read here that it’s healthier to do dishes by hand anyway. Hello even more clean-up and another kid-related thing to worry about.
5. It’s expensive! We all know healthy food isn’t cheap, but come on. Frozen pre-pitted cooking cherries from a local grocery cost $9.99, but I can get a whole ready-made cherry pie for $7.99. By the time I’ve made (what loosely resembles) a cherry pie I’m down $2, a couple of hours, and my pride. Plus, dishes. I could buy cheaper ingredients, but if I’m just going to get canned, processed foods anyway, why cook at all?
I do keep trying though. I have about 3 meals I can make without ruining and those get rotated in often. And I try a lot of slow cooker recipes that sometimes work out. My kiddo is still young, but I like our family meals, even when the baby’s food turns out better than ours.
I may get a C for execution, but with an A for effort, I’m still a “pretty good” wif.
(Wondering why I’m missing the “e” in wife? Read the story behind the blog name here.)